In what may be the biggest defection in Paris since Rudolph Nureyev leapt to freedom at Le Bourget airport, Lady Amanda Harlech is getting ready to move from John Galliano to Karl Lagerfeld.
Although Harlech could not be reached for comment, WWD has learned that Galliano’s muse of a dozen years is close to taking a job in the design studio at Chanel.
Subtle hints of her departure from Galliano, who has just moved from Givenchy to become the head designer at Dior, started in October when Lady Harlech arrived at the Chanel ready-to-wear show wearing a Chanel suit. After the show, Lagerfeld — surrounded by a crowd — announced loudly to Harlech, “If they don’t give you what you want at Dior, I’ve got a great job for you.”
The houses of Dior and Chanel have long been bitter rivals, a rivalry that began with Christian and Coco themselves. And Lagerfeld has never been discreet about his dislike of Dior’s Bernard Arnault, but Wednesday he was unavailable for comment.
Harlech has known Galliano since his days as a fledgling designer in London. She not only served as an inspiration and a sounding board for the designer, but also provided invaluable spin control for the fallout from his famously unruly antics — as when he stood up the Queen of England for dinner last May.
“Living away from fashion, she brings a valuable and fresh perspective,” Galliano once said of Harlech. “She sends things from England — like a pebble, piece of glass or a dried flower — just to communicate a mood that I will be able to feel and work with.”